Sports News

Avalanche knock off Stars, force Game 7 in semifinal series

Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each collected one goal and one assist and the Colorado Avalanche overcame a couple more injuries to beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 Wednesday night and force Game 7 in their Stanley Cup playoff series.

Sep 2, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen (96) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin (35) during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado goaltender Michael Hutchinson -- their third stringer -- rebounded from surrendering a dud of a goal to make 27 saves in the victory that set the stage for Friday’s game to decide the Western Conference semifinal. Colorado trailed the series 3-1.

The Avalanche had added issues to overcome.

Captain Gabriel Landeskog left late in the second period after his leg appeared to be cut by the skate of teammate Cale Makar. Landeskog returned midway through the third period but took only one shift, lasting 16 seconds. Also, Conor Timmins was hurt early in the second period and didn’t return.

Colorado was already without their top two goaltenders in Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz, defenseman Erik Johnson and forwards Matt Calvert and Joonas Donskoi.

With the score tied 1-1, Makar netted what proved to be the game winner near the midway point of the second period. After a point shot was blocked, Makar, who went to the slot, gained the puck and lifted it into the top corner at the 7:48 mark.

Rantanen provided the insurance goal at 3:21 of the third period. MacKinnon sent a saucer pass to his wide-open teammate, and Rantanen buried a one-timer for his seventh goal of the playoffs.

MacKinnon notched an empty net goal with 2:46 remaining. He extended his point streak to 14 games, a franchise mark in which he’s collected nine goals and 16 assists. It’s the second-longest streak to start a playoff year in league history.

The clubs traded first-period goals 113 seconds apart in a tighter opening frame compared with the first five games in this series.

Dallas rising star defenseman Miro Heiskanen opened the scoring with the kind of goal playoff goaltenders can’t allow. Hutchinson failed to catch a long wrist shot at the 17:35 mark.

Heiskanen collected his fifth goal of the playoffs, which tied a franchise mark for a defenseman, and extended his point-scoring streak to seven games, a franchise record for blueliners.

Colorado drew even when defenseman Nikita Zadorov’s long wrister from the point found the mark with 31.1 seconds remaining in the first period.

Stars goalie Anton Khudobin, back in nets because No. 1 netminder Ben Bishop is unfit to play, stopped 20 shots in his team’s second consecutive loss.

-Field Level Media